“Bo Luxton has it all – a loving family, a beautiful home in the Lake District, and a clutch of bestselling books to her name.
Enter Alice Dark, an aspiring writer who is drifting through life, with a series of dead-end jobs and a freeloading boyfriend.
When they meet at a writers’ retreat, the chemistry is instant, and a sinister relationship develops… Or does it?
Breathlessly pacey, taut and terrifying, Exquisite is a startlingly original and unbalancing psychological thriller that will keep you guessing until the very last page.”
I am thrilled to welcome you today to my stop on the Exquisite blog tour which I share with the very lovely Donna over at Chocolate’n’Waffles. Exquisite is written by Sarah Stovell and was published by the marvellous Orenda Books on 15th June 2017.
Exquisite is exactly that, exquisite. There has been a lot of excitement and hype over this book of late and I can tell you now; every compliment and every ounce of praise piled on this book is completely deserved. I may have mentioned my top ten list of books of 2017 to you before. I have a number of books that are hanging on the periphery; some that will make it to the list, others that won’t. And then I have the dead certs. Exquisite is a dead cert (along with two of its Orenda Books cousins). Sublime, intense, claustrophobic and totally, totally divine.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first picked up my copy of Exquisite. I had heard that the story was set around two woman beginning a dangerous affair. In all honesty, I couldn’t care less about it being two woman (or two men, or a man and a woman; you get the picture). What made me uncomfortable was that I’m not one for sexy dealings and soggy romance in my books. If there is any kind of love interest in the stories I read then I ‘tend’ to switch off a little. I say ‘tend’ because it’s not always the case, just more often than not! But this book….! Sarah Stovell has written such a twisted, delicious and gripping story that I forgot I was reading about a love affair.
We meet Bo Luxton, writer and mother to two young daughters. Bo is married (I can’t say happily as it’s more of a marriage of convenience) and teaches the odd writing course. There she meets young, outgoing wannabe, Alice at a writers retreat. A bond is formed, which blooms into a mentor and mentee arrangement, quickly followed by a wonderfully supportive friendship. Bo and Alice email each other daily and before long, their friendship grows into something else. Or does it…?
If you buy only one book this week, this month, this year…make it this one. Sarah Stovell has created a magnificent and perfectly crafted piece of fiction which sucked me in, chewed me up and spat me out. And I LOVED it. Regular readers may be aware that I’m not the fastest reader in the blogosphere but this book, I couldn’t put down. I started reading at 4pm on the Sunday and was finished by 9am on the Monday – I absolutely drank it in and I’m desperate for more.
Would I recommend this book? If you still need that question answering then you must have skipped to this part of the review without reading the rest! Yes, I would recommend this book as it’s divine. It’s the most intoxicating read since…well, I can’t think of anything to compare it to right now. It’s so darn good that it deserves to win award, after award, after award. Orenda Books, you’ve done it again!
Five out of five stars (more if I could)
I chose to read and review an ARC of Exquisite. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.
Sarah Stovell was born in 1977 and spent most of her life in the Home Counties before a season working in a remote North Yorkshire youth hostel made her realise she was a northerner at heart. She now lives in Northumberland with her partner and two children and is a lecturer in Creative Writing at Lincoln University. Her debut psychological thriller, Exquisite, is set in the Lake District.